Calm urged after court shooting

Calm urged after court shooting

Top prosecutor says facts behind judge's suicide attempt must be established

A senior public prosecutor on Saturday urged the public not to rush to any conclusions after a suicide attempt by a judge in Yala triggered speculation about possible interference in a case he had been presiding over.

The speculation was fueled by a 25-page statement circulating on social media before Khanakorn Pianchana, a senior judge at the Yala provincial court, shot himself in the chest. The shooting occurred in the courtroom after he handed down a ruling.

The statement, which described disagreements among senior judges in the case he was hearing, was purportedly written by the judge.

It also contained parts of the ruling in the case.

Poramate Intarachumnum, chief of the Department of Thonburi Criminal Litigation, said the public should withhold their criticism for the time being because what they read might turn out to be true.

The prosecutor also called on legal experts to scrutinise the document in which a number of individuals were mentioned, as those people had yet to give their own accounts of their involvement.

According to Mr Poramate, the issue is sensitive and could shake public confidence in the justice administration system.

"When sharing or criticising, those mentioned in the document should have a chance to tell their side of the story because this issue affects the judiciary and public confidence in the justice administration process. We should safeguard the justice system as a whole," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Angkhana Neelapaijit, a former national human rights commissioner, also wrote on Facebook that the incident has had an adverse impact on public confidence in the justice system.

She criticised Suriyan Hongvilai, spokesman of the Court of Justice, for saying the shooting was related to stress from "personal issues" which unnecessarily affected the judge's family.

"If you don't want the court to be affected by the incident, saying 'stress' [without mentioning personal issues] should suffice," she wrote.

Meanwhile, Mr Suriyan yesterday dismissed reports that Permsak Saisithong, chief judge of Region 9, intends to talk to the media about the incident and livestream it on Facebook.

According to Mr Suriyan, he had been informed by Mr Permsak that there was no such plan and the Facebook account "Permsak Saisithong" was not official and had nothing to do with the judge.

A stream of visitors have been turning up at Yala Regional Hospital where Mr Khanakorn was yesterday moved out of the intensive care unit.

Among them was the opposition Prachachat Party leader Wan Muhamad Nor Matha.

Mr Khanakorn reportedly underwent surgery for injuries said not to be life-threatening.

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